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Major barn fire in Silsden was caused by an out of control bonfire

Friday, 16 September 2022 23:47

By Chris Young, Local Democracy Reporter

People have been warned over the dangers of unattended fires after it emerged one of the biggest blazes in the past year was caused by an out of control bonfire.

The fire, which happened in a rural area north of Silsden in April, saw over 80 firefighters from across West Yorkshire dispatched to the farm site.

Strong winds had led to a controlled burn spreading to a neighbouring barn.

A report by West Yorkshire Fire Authority has now revealed that the fire saw the joint biggest operation by the service in West Yorkshire since the start of the financial year.

With Bonfire night fast approaching, Bradford’s District fire commander has warned residents of the dangers of starting fires, even if they believe they are able to keep them under control.

At 1.40pm on 23rd April, West Yorkshire fire service received a call to a barn fire at High Bracken Hill Farm on Green Lane, Silsden.

Initially crews from Keighley and Shipley attended, but after the scale of the fire became clear another 13 crews were dispatched to the site.

A barn had caught fire, and smoke could be seen for miles around.

The response led to road closures for much of the day, and crews remained at the scene until around 11pm.

The landowner provided farm machinery to help firefighters get closer to the heart of the blaze.

The fire authority’s report into the biggest fires in West Yorkshire since April says crews were dispatched from as far as Halifax, Todmorden and Skipton.

It adds: The cause of this fire was due to accidental fire spread.”

The only other fire in West Yorkshire to have seen such a large response since April was a blaze at a vehicle repair garage on Elmfield Road in Morley.

That fire, which also saw 80 firefighters dispatched to the scene, was started by a stray spark from welding equipment.

Referring to the dangers of bonfires and controlled burning, Bradford District Commander Chris Kovacs said: “Bonfires on private land can often get out of control quickly.

“If you do hold a bonfire then make sure to never leave it unattended and keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby in case of emergencies.

“Don’t throw any fireworks into the fire and don’t burn anything combustible like aerosols or anything containing foam or paint – many produce toxic fumes and some containers may explode, causing injury.”


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